Gabe Vincent gave the Heat some answers, but questions remain

Gabe Vincent has learned to live in the moment, including these moments as a starting point over the past six weeks for the Miami Heat.

But he also knows what’s coming next, reaching free agency in July.

So, yes, and an eye to the future, a future that during last season’s playoffs emerged would come with a significant payoff, earning unsolicited praise from Trae Young, but a future now somewhat clouded by an uneven season, including only three points. 1 in 5 shots Saturday night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls.

“I think if anybody told you they were in this situation and didn’t think about it, they’d be lying to you,” Vincent said, with the Heat wrapping up a two-game road trip Sunday night against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena . “So it’s something that definitely comes to mind that you think about. But I don’t think it’s something that has affected my game itself.”

Like many on the list, there have been a number of highs and lows for the fourth-year point guard, Saturday being one of the lower moments.

“We played different brands of basketball throughout the season,” Vincent said. “I think anyone watching the game can see that. And there’s been different types of guys that have been successful and unsuccessful, and I think maybe the style of play can have an effect not just on me, but on a number of other guys that could be role players in this team.

“So it’s been an up and down year for a number of guys and this team in general. So I think it’s just a product of that.”

After going undrafted out of UC-Santa Barbara in 2018, Vincent makes it clear he’s not taking anything for granted.

“Obviously, being a guy that came through the G League and had a different route than probably most of the NBA, that chip on my shoulder, that I want to prove myself, I think it never really goes away.” he said. “But I feel like I’ve established myself in this league and I’ve shown everybody, all 30 teams, that I can play and help a team win.

“So as far as the stress of that, I’m going to leave that up to my agent and let him deal with that and do what I can to help the Miami Heat the rest of this year.”

For the moment, in fact, six weeks worth of moments, it meant to intervene as a starting point because Kyle Lowry is slowly making his way back from a 15-game absence due to knee soreness, with Lowry sitting out Saturday at Chicago.

“I think it’s something that this team and organization has trusted in me time and time again, whether Kyle was out now or he was injured and couldn’t play for a while in the playoffs last year,” Vincent, 26, said year old. “So I think I’ve earned the respect from them and the confidence from them and my teammates to be able to step into that role.

“I know I can do it. So their support means the world to me and I’m just trying to go out there and help my teammates and help my team win.”

That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been an adjustment.

“I think it’s different when you start the game against their starters,” he said. “I think most of my NBA career, per se, has been off the bench, and a lot of that is going against a hot start unit or a cold second unit. Either I’ll come on the field before their second unit comes in or I’ll come in after their second unit has been on and it’s been a little warm and I’m a fresh body.

“So it’s a bit different in that respect, coming off the bench and trying to be a bit of a spark and change the pace of the game. And as a start, you try to set the tone. So it’s a slightly different approach. But obviously you still want the same result.”

At some point before the postseason begins, coach Erik Spoelstra is expected to restore Lowry to the starting lineup.

“I want to win,” Vincent said. “I want to win and I think I’ve shown that by wearing different hats throughout my time here. So it would be a no-brainer for me as a coach, there would be no pushback, no pushback, nothing. I would think that I will still have all the respect and trust of my colleagues. So I think I’d be fine with whatever he thinks is best.”


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